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Brazil Leads Lat-Am in Deployments, Connections and Demand for WiMAX and 3G Services

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Signals Telecom Consulting has issued a commentary which notes that as from 2010 Brazil will account for the greatest number of WiMAX accesses in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, a position that it will keep in the medium term. Signals expects that the setting of regulations for the use of the 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands, plus the tendering of new bands, will provide a strong impulse to this technology in Brazil. Signals foresees the entry into the market of large scale operators such as Telef nica (via TVA), which will use WiMAX to expand its area of operation outside Sao Paulo, and SKY (DirecTV), among others, which will join the current efforts being made by Embratel and Neovia. Signals expects that operators will carry out their own development to be able to add their own last mile.

Also, in 2009, Number Portability became available nationwide, and records a high volume of requests. Nevertheless, eight months from its launch the system still shows high fail rates, to the extent that only 67.17% of the portability requests are effectively implemented.

Coverage by UMTS/HSPA networks is expected to enable a dual business model to be adopted by the country's mobile operators. In the main urban centers networks will evolve to be converted into a complement of cabled accesses and WiFi Hot Spots; in rural areas they will be transformed into the principal telecommunications backbone, positioning themselves as the primary networks for telephony and Internet access.

At 4Q08 the structure of rate offers for UMTS/HSPA network Internet access was centered on the sale of data bundles at a better price then consumption on demand. This means that the market is still at a restricted access stage that prevents network saturation, to be able to offer an acceptable Internet navigation experience, allowing a differential to be charged for the service.

However, the situation of MVNO is not entirely clear in Brazil, as although Anatel can authorize network leasing for service offers, the regulator's powers do not include the possibility of requiring MNOs to lease their spectrum. To be able to demand this access, Anatel must modify its Spectrum Granting Regulation (No.454) to be able to require the leasing of the spectrum to be granted in the terms of MNO tenders Signals identifies Virgin Mobile and local companies aeiou, GVT, Sercomtel and SKY as some of the operators that could in future operate as MVNOs.

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